Whether you think it’s an overreaction or not, the New York Rangers have taken what happened to them by Matt Martin and Tom Wilson last year seriously during this offseason. Martin concussed Jacob Trouba and we all know about the Wilson debacle with Artemi Panarin and the now departed Pavel Buchnevich. The Rangers have made it known that they will not be pushed around again this season by “tougher” teams. Owner James Dolan’s remarks after the firing of the former front office to new GM Chris Drury’s first press conference where he set out the want to be bigger and tougher to play against made the coming moves inevitable. The Rangers addition of Ryan Reaves from the Vegas Golden Knight late Thursday night is just one more affirmation of just that by Chris Drury and the rest of the Rangers front office.
While I can understand the clubs seemingly insatiable need to get bigger and tougher this offseason it does feel like it’s a bit of an overreaction with how many bottom six grinders the team has targeted thus far. While I’ve argued that the club could use an infusion of grit and bite to their lineup to avoid becoming a one dimensional team like Toronto, it seems like the club has set themselves on a mission to make sure it’s known that they won’t take what happened to them last year lying down.
If you’ve gone on Rangers social media you’ve already seen fans foaming at the mouth at Drury giving up a third rounder for the well known pugilist. While I can agree that it’s not ideal to spend quality draft capital on a fourth line player, the Rangers have acquired more than enough young talent over the last several years to not fret over a 3rd round pick. With the Rangers now retooling over the rebuild, now is not the time to be stacking draft capital. How they spend that though is key.
What I will say in the defense of acquiring Reaves is that he will not only bring a toughness element on the ice but he will also bring a hard nosed style of leadership within the room as well. Also, Reaves will bring with him a knowledge of new Rangers bench boss Gerard Gallant and can help a lot of these players acclimate themselves to what the new boss will demand from his club. There is also no denying that Reaves brings a ton of energy to the 4th line which was highly evident when dressed in the lineup for Vegas during his tenure. He also comes well liked in the locker room from his former teams.
Drury has spent the first week of his first free agency doing a lot of what many people thought he would do and that’s “beef” up the team’s bottom six. While the likes of Dryden Hunt, Jared Tinordi, and Gregg McKegg should not see a lot of time, if any, on Broadway this year, Ryan Reaves should play a nice role in helping this franchise take the next step towards the playoffs. If anything, Reaves’ addition should at least fill Glen Sather and Jim Dolan’s lust for the team to become tougher to play against this upcoming season. With all the added muscle now in place hopefully Drury will start to set his sights on adding another top six piece, 2C or RW, to help put the finishing touches on this teams offense.Embed from Getty Images